LACONIA — The Belmont-Gilford Bulldogs were a minute and thirty five away from repeating last year's unfortunate end to a season, until Brogan Hurst blasted a shot from the point that led to a rebound falling onto the stick of Andrew D'Amour. D'Amour buried the puck past the right pad of Kennett goalie Josh Kondrat (41 saves) to even things up at two goals apiece and eventually force a sudden death overtime period. Junior center Caleb Drouin won a face-off four and a half minutes into overtime, tiptoed through traffic and found the tiniest of openings between Kondrat's legs for the first home playoff victory during coach Jay Londer's tenure.
"I got the puck, felt someone slash me, shot five hole and it went in," said Drouin. "I had an overtime goal before in the regular season, but this is my biggest one yet. I didn't want to see the seniors lose tonight." Prior to the game, Londer was unsure how much ice time he was going to give the imposing junior. "Drouin was ill tonight, but when he is on his game he is so big and hard to stop," Londer said.
The Bulldogs were in the same position last season, playing host to Kennett in the quarter-finals. The Eagles took that game, beating the Bulldogs by the score of 6-3.
On Saturday night, Kennett opened the scoring in the second period with a Brad Canavari goal at the 11 minute mark. The Bulldogs responded less than two minutes later by a power play wrist shot from Hurst.
The game remained tied until Canavari tossed the puck toward the net and Dane Rivera redirected the shot just enough for B-G goalie Calvin Davis (23 saves) to lose sight of the puck until it was behind him for a 2-1 Eagles lead.
Kennett had a golden opportunity early in the overtime, but the goalie's best friend made an appearance and helped out Davis. Kennett controlled a face-off to the left of Davis and quickly shoveled a pass to a streaking Canavari who had the open net on the right side. Canavari took a backhanded shot behind Davis across the crease and off the opposite post. The rebound ricocheted out and play went the other way.
"It's great going to the semi's," Londer added. "I told the kids that we haven't accomplished anything at 15-5. We haven't accomplished anything until we win a playoff game."
The Bulldogs will face off against Souhegan at the Everett Arena in Concord on Wednesday at 5 p.m. The teams split the regular season, each team winning their home game.